I had the opportunity yesterday to do a couple of presentations on continuous quality improvement at one of the other community colleges in Kansas. It was their opening in-service of the new semester. Near the start of the session, their president spoke. As soon as he’d welcomed the hundred-and-fifty or so employees, the very next thing that he said was, "If I have somehow hurt or offended any of you, in any way, I’m asking you to please forgive me."
I thought about that several times during my five-hour drive back home last evening. I don’t know the man at all, but I was struck by what seemed to me to be genuine sincerity. I was still thinking about it as I drove through the Flint Hills section between Wichita and Emporia.
Kansas suddenly seems vast and enormous as you drive from one ridge toward another. Rolling prairie stretches out for miles in every direction. In many places you can look in every direction and see no houses, barns or much of anything else except the lines of scrub oak and cottonwood along the ditches and creeks. The sky wraps around you, boundless, as a swollen moon rises in the dusk, above endless acres of grazing range.
In such a place as that, one can feel as small as a blade of grass, insignificant in all the universe, except for the fact that we have been chosen for love by the God who made both sky and prairie.
Driving through that vastness, I thought that we should never feel too large to ask for forgiveness. Nor too small to grant it to others.